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Nunavut's Path

Table of Contents

 Living with COVID-19

Nunavut’s Path was designed to allow us to address the challenges of the pandemic with a thoughtful and cautious approach. Currently, the Government of Nunavut (GN), does not have a Public Health Emergency (PHE) in effect. The GN and Nunavut’s Chief Public Health officer (CPHO), have determined that Nunavut can manage COVID-19 without the powers provided under a Public Health Emergency.

Currently, 90 per cent of Nunavummiut have access to a safe and effective vaccine that offers proven protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19.

The availability of self-testing options in the territory and two years’ worth of education means Nunavummiut now have more tools to protect themselves from COVID-19.

These factors combined provide Nunavummiut with the ability to manage the risk of COVID-19 without the intervention of the Government of Nunavut beyond standard health care services. Moving forward, Nunavummiut are asked to take personal precautions to reduce the risk for respiratory. Please read Nunavut’s Path: moving forward during COVID-19 for more information on how Nunavut will move towards normal living with COVID-19.


Changes and Announcements:

There may be instances where local public health emergencies are declared if an outbreak puts too much strain on health centres. New variants that the vaccines are not effective against could lead to stricter public health measures. If this takes place, Nunavummiut will be notified by updates to the GN website, GN social media, a press briefing and through Public Health Advisory

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it safe to lift the Public Health Emergency (PHE) and public health measures? 
Vaccines are available to Nunavummiut over the age of five and testing options are available in all communities. We also have more knowledge about how to assess and manage our personal risk of getting and transmitting COVID-19. With these tools we are now able to manage the virus as we would any other communicable disease, such as influenza. 

Why is the Government of Nunavut no longer reporting vaccine and case data? Will that data still be available to the public? 
The PHE gave us the ability to report COVID-19 case data to protect public health. As we transition to managing COVID-19 in the context of other health conditions, the reporting will be limited to what is required under the Public Health Act. For example, if there is a need to declare an outbreak, it will be done publicly. We will continue to report case data to the Government of Canada. 

How will the public know if they are at risk of COVID-19 if the GN is no longer reporting numbers? 
Similar to other infectious and communicable diseases (e.g., Influenza), there is always a risk. It is important that Nunavummiut remain vigilant to reduce their risks of getting COVID-19. This means getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, practising good hygiene, and staying home when sick. 

Is there a chance the Public Health Emergency and public health measures will be reinstated? 
We might have instances where we will have to declare localized public health emergencies if outbreaks put too much strain on the health system and public health measures are required. We will also assess the need for measure-based factors such as new variants that the vaccines are not effective against. 

Is it safe to send my kids to school? 
Yes. It is safe to send children to school. As for all Nunavummiut, it is important to manage the risk. Get vaccinated, stay home when sick. 

Why do people with COVID-19 no longer have to isolate? 
Nunavummiut have the tools, such as vaccines and two years of public education to manage the risk of COVID-19. We ask anyone who is sick to do their part and protect their communities by staying home. 

I work at a mine, can I enter a Nunavut community? 
There are currently no public restrictions to travel within Nunavut, including between mines and communities. Individuals should contact their employer directly if they have questions regarding COVID-19 specific polices that may be in effect at mine sites across Nunavut, including masking on-site and vaccination requirements.  

What happened to the COVID-19 Hotline?
The Nunavut COVID-19 hotline was one of several temporary measures put in place to support Nunavut’s COVID-19 Pandemic response. Due to a decline in calls, the hotline was closed on January 31, 2023. Nunavummiut with questions about COVID-19 or eligibility for treatment of COVID-19, are encouraged to visit the Government of Nunavut’s COVID-19 webpage or contact your local health centre or public health unit.

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Masks are no longer mandatory for the public, but private businesses may continue to require staff and patrons to wear masks.
Until further notice, the GN will require masks at all health facilities, Elders’ facilities, and Akausisarvik.
Masks are optional in schools and GN workplaces.

While masks are no longer mandatory, they are still recommended for any individual who is feeling unwell and who is unable to stay home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I still have to wear a mask? 
Masks are no longer mandatory in public spaces, however, it is recommended that if you are feeling unwell and can't stay home that you wear a mask. Masks help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Instructions for how to use a mask can be found here: How to Use a Mask 

My employer still requires a mask – when can I expect this to be lifted? 
Mask policies are at the discretion of employers.  

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All Nunavummiut six months and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Currently, Nunavut offers:

  • Moderna SPIKEVAX® for Nunavummiut aged 6 months and over.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty mRNA vaccines for those aged 5 and over. 

Please visit our COVID-19 Vaccines page to learn more about each one.  

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Treatment is available for COVID-19. Paxlovid™ is an oral antiviral medication effective at reducing the chances of being hospitalized from COVID-19.     

What you should know: 

  • It is available in all Nunavut communities.
  • It is for adults 18+ who are considered high risk for poor outcomes. Risk factors include::
    • diabetes
    • heart disease
    • lung disease
    • obesity
    • pregnancy
    • a weak immune system,
    • Older than 55
  • Treatment should begin within five days of symptoms starting.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or believe you have been exposed and are symptomatic contact your healthcare provider to determine if you are eligible to be treated with Paxlovid™.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the treatment of COVID-19 work? 
Paxlovid™ is an oral antiviral medication for the treatment of mild COVID-19 in adults 18 and older who are considered at high risk for serious illness. When started within five days of developing symptoms,  Paxlovid™ is effective at reducing the chances of being hospitalized or medevaced due to COVID-19. A full course of Paxlovid™ treatment is taken for 5 days.

Is there a treatment for children? 
Currently, the only Health Canada authorized antiviral treatment for COVID-19 is for adults.  

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  Rapid Testing         

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests are a tool to help detect COVID-19 in our communities. While they are easy to use and give results quickly, they are not perfect. 

These self-tests are not as reliable as other forms of testing. A negative test does not necessarily mean you do not have COVID-19, especially if you have COVID-19-like symptoms, or were in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. This is why, in Nunavut, a negative self-test does not change the recommendations for isolation.

Rapid tests are not recommended if you are not experiencing symptoms. Do not re-use tests. Dispose of them after use. Please note that the fluid used in self tests is harmful and should not be consumed or come in contact with skin.

There are multiple brands of self-tests available and while they are easy to use and do not require assistance from a health care provider, it is important to follow the instructions that come with the test you are using to ensure accurate results. Pay close attention to how to collect the sample and the time you need to wait until you read the results.  

Not following the steps properly, including not waiting long enough or waiting too long to read the test result, can lead to an incorrect result. Note: a faint line is still a positive. 

Nunavummiut with questions about COVID-19 or eligibility for treatment of COVID-19, are encouraged to visit the Government of Nunavut’s COVID-19 webpage or contact your local health centre or public health unit.

If your test is invalid, check to make sure you have followed the directions correctly and test again. 

Changes and Announcements  

Please note that changes or announcements related to vaccines in Nunavut will be announced via this webpage, GN social media, and through a public health advisory or news release.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get a self test? 
Limited quantities of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests are available to Nunavummiut through Northern Stores and Arctic Co-ops. At this time, self-tests are not available at the health centres, public health units, the hospital or any Government of Nunavut offices. Northmart will advertise availability and distribution of the tests. Please refer to this factsheet for more information on when to test: Rapid Antigen Self-Test (RAT) for COVID-19 

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 Canadian COVID-19 border and travel measures

Effective October 1, 2022, Government of Canada announced the removal of all COVID-19 entry restrictions, as well as testing, quarantine, and isolation requirements for anyone entering Canada

Effective October 1, 2022, all travellers, regardless of citizenship, will no longer have to:

  • submit public health information through the ArriveCAN app or website for those entering Canada
  • provide proof of vaccination;
  • undergo pre- or on-arrival testing;
  • carry out COVID-19-related quarantine or isolation;
  • monitor and report if they develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 upon arriving to Canada.

Transport Canada is also removing existing travel requirements. As of October 1, 2022, travellers will no longer be required to:

  • undergo health checks for travel on air and rail; or
  • wear masks on planes and trains.

Although the masking requirement is being lifted, all travellers are strongly recommended to wear high quality and well-fitted masks during their journeys.

Cruise measures are also being lifted, and travellers will no longer be required to have pre-board tests, be vaccinated, or use ArriveCAN.


Travellers are reminded to make informed decisions when considering travel outside of Canada to protect their health and safety

It is your responsibility to check the entry requirements of other countries. 

Please visit the Government of Canada website for more information on COVID-19 border and travel measures

Changes and Announcements  

Please note that changes or announcements related to travel restrictions specific to Nunavut will be announced via this webpage, and through a public health advisory or news release if deemed necessary.  


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 How to obtain proof of vaccination

Proof of vaccination (PVC) can be obtained in person at your local health centre, Iqaluit Public Health or Qikiqtani General Hospital.

Unvaccinated individuals, or those without their PVC, must undergo COVID-19 testing at the airport prior to boarding their flight. Passengers departing from any Nunavut community outside of Iqaluit are not subject to testing requirements at this time.

National standards and requirements are subject to change. Nunavummiut are reminded to research federal public health restrictions and proof of vaccination requirements before travelling.

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